- OCTOBER 2019

Dear Shintaido Instructors, members of International Shintaido,

This Newsletter will cover three topics:

  1. An update on our membership
  2. Some important practical information about Biwako 2020, our international gasshuku next year in Japan
  3. And a message from Doshu Haruyoshi F. Ito sensei explaining his approach, as Technical Director, to the content of keiko and exams during Biwako 2020.

Happy reading!

International Shintaido Membership

We are delighted to report that our membership has reached 80 members, up from 64 last year. The increase derives from new instructors and recent sho-dan recipients along with people who were already instructors and decided to join this year.

The geographic distribution is 43 for Europe, 31 for North America, and 6 for Japan. A number of countries have as much as 100% of their instructors as members of International Shintaido.

A big thank-you to all of you for supporting the International part of the Shintaido organization, especially the support of ITEC (International Technical and Examination Committee) activities!


A lot of work is being done to prepare for our 2020 international gasshuku in Japan.
A broad description of this Gasshuku was included in our last Newsletter. Here is a link to help you refer to it:

International Shintaido July 2019 Newsletter

Reasons to attend an International Gasshuku, by Connie Borden

When recently asked about reasons to attend a quadriennal international gasshuku, Connie Borden, ITEC Representative to the Board, responded as follow :

Why attend an international gasshuku?
My thanks to Dan for bringing the beginner’s mind to our practice by asking this question!

As we explore reasons to attend an international gasshuku, the answers will be as varied as our practitioners. In the early years of Shintaido, a main reason to attend was to practice with the founder, Aoki Sensei. Now as Shintaido moves into the next phase of growth, the reasons are numerous.

One attractive feature is the ‘coming together under one roof’ – the literal meaning of the word gasshuku. For three days, people from around the world gather and form an instant community to express the creative, personal and transformative nature of Shintaido. The opportunity to gather in-person and connect through a body movement practice meets an essential human need that goes beyond the electronic connections made by social media.

At an international gasshuku a person can observe examinations at the San Dan, Yon Dan and sometimes go-dan levels. These examinations normally only occur every four years and provide a rich study for everyone present. A person can meet people from many different countries and make new friends. For others, returning to a gasshuku can reunite people who might only see each other every four years. They often say they immediately reconnect without any feeling of passage of time or space because of the practice of Shintaido.

Another reason to attend is to rejuvenate and reenergize through practice with the international community. For many, they practice or teach in areas removed from larger communities so that to gather together provides important enrichment and preparation for ongoing study in the coming years.

Lastly, this year Ito Sensei will direct the keiko and share his rich background with a life dedicated to Shintaido. The opportunity to receive his teachings is always a valuable experience, and to study in Japan with the international community promises a unique moment not to be missed.

-- Connie

Important information to know when planning your participation:

  • Confirmation of the dates: 
    • You should plan to arrive in the afternoon on Thursday, November 5, 2020 (except for ITEC members and ISP board members who will arrive for dinner on Wednesday);
    • The Gasshuku will end on Sunday, November 8, 2020, after lunch (Approx. 15:00).
  • Price of the Gasshuku
    • The early-bird price is ¥60,000 (Japanese yen).
    • At current exchange rates, this is approximately 510 euros and 565 USD.
    • We are aware that this is a significant amount of money. We want you to know we did the best we could to keep this amount to the level of past international events. Cost of Room and Board is expensive in Japan, and this cost represents more than 70% of the budget of this gasshuku.
    • We will ask for a deposit of ¥10,000 at the time of registration (approximately 85 euros and 95 USD).
    • We are still working on how payments will be made, trying to find the cheapest and most convenient methods to transfer payments from North America and Europe to Japan. These details will be covered in our next Newsletter and be found on the event’s website dedicated to registration.
  • Guest participants:
    • As you will see in Ito sensei’s article below, this Gashuku has been opened to Shintaido practitioners who are not yet graduate/jun shidoin/shodan under the following conditions and expectations:
      • Can watch high-level exam sessions Saturday morning (mitori geiko)
      • Can participate in the two general keikos, one on Saturday afternoon and the other Sunday morning
      • Cannot participate in Advanced Keikos on Friday
    • Logistics: Arrival for dinner on Friday November 6, 2020
    • Guest participant price: ¥42,000, Room & Board and keiko.
  • Registration process
    • The website dedicated to Biwako 2020 is under construction and will be available for registration at the beginning of 2020. All information provided in our newsletters will eventually be available on the website.
  • Travel arrangements:
    • We are giving you all the above information so that you can consider making travel arrangements without waiting for the opening of registration.
    • Airfares are often cheaper when booked very early, so booking flights even one year in advance or so is something you may want to consider in order to get the cheapest possible flight.
    • We also want to ask you to make sure you get appropriate travel insurance, including cost of repatriation. While we will get local insurance for local medical expenses associated with Shintaido practice, this will not cover other medical expenses, nor cost of repatriation if needed. Again, we are saying this now so you can consider taking this insurance coverage together with your travel arrangements if appropriate.
    • Airport of destination is Osaka’s Kansai International Airport (KIX).
    • Transportation from Kansai International Airport to Shirahamaso, the gasshuku site, is by train. The train station closest to the gasshuku site is Omi-Takashima (Omitakashima).
    • It takes about 2.5 hours from the Osaka Kansai International airport to the Gasshuku site, plus time to get your luggage and buy the train ticket. So you should book a flight arriving at Kansai International Airport no later than 12:30. More details will be given later.
    • If you have to fly back right after the gasshuku, your flight should depart not before 21:00, which would mean leaving Shirahamaso no later than 14:00. As this timing would most probably force you to skip the closing ceremony and even lunch, we would recommend you take a return flight the next day instead.

If there is any question on the above, please feel free to contact any of the International Shintaido board members.

Message from Doshu Haruyoshi F. Ito about what to expect at Biwako 2020

Dear Friends,

Thank you ITEC for appointing me as the technical director of Biwako 2020. I appreciate your trust!

And thank you Kansai Shintaido Club for all of your work in preparation for this event.

As the Technical Director I am responsible for directing the keiko and the exams.

Looking back over the history of the Shintaido movement, I found a way to organize the Shintaido program that was established by Taro Aoki when he was the director of Shintaido Kyokai (Japan’s national group). Following his approach, I think we can fundamentally divide keiko into two parts:

  • Honka/Main Course, consisting of freehand Shintaido and basic training in Dai-kihon. We can see this as “Practicing Shintaido as Life Expression.”

  • Senka/Specialized Course, consisting of Shintaido bojutsu, Shintaido karate, Shintaido kenjutsu, and Shintaido jujutsu. We can see this as “Focusing on the Martial Side of Shintaido.”

With these organizing principles in mind, here are my thoughts on how I would like to lead the keiko and exams at the event:

  • Advanced Workshop (Shido-sha Koshu-kai), focusing on the Senka/Specialized Course.
    • A combination of Master Class, Collegial Keiko, and Mock Exams
    • Reserved for International Shintaido Graduate/Jun-shidoin/Shodan and above 
  • Exams
    • A combination of formal presentation, performance, graduation, celebration, and photo/video session
    • Open for Mitori-Geiko to all levels of practitioners
  • General event (Ippan Taikai, Honka/Main Course)
    • Gentle Shintaido / Shintaido for all
    • Freehand shintaido
    • Open to all levels of practitioners in Japan and overseas, with invitation of their attending instructor. If you intend to invite practitioners who are your students and are not members of ISP, please make sure they understand the structure I have just described.

Here are some challenges that I anticipate:

  • Many examinees with various exam subjects
  • Not enough time

To deal with these, here are some important points regarding the Advanced Workshop:

  • Exam Registration
    • As early as possible, the organizing team needs to know
      • who will take exams
      • what exams they will take
  • The core of practice for the Advanced Workshop will be centered on the San-dan and Yon-dan examination programs by the way of master classes, collegial practices and mock exams as mentioned above. The subject matter will mainly be intended for higher rank holders and examinees. However, Sho-dan and Ni-dan holders not preparing for exams will be able to benefit from the process by practicing with their sempai and through mitori geiko.
  • The collegial keikos will be organised according to the examinees, based on their personal needs and preferences. Shodan and Nidan instructors not preparing for exams will be invited to join an appropriate collegial keiko group according to their current grade and the Shintaido discipline they wish to practice with their sempai (Bojutsu, Kenjutsu, Karate or Free hand).
  • Masterclasses, collegial practices and mock exams will alternate according to the needs for those preparing for exams. For everyone and especially for Sho-dan and Nidan instructors not preparing for an exam, these classes will give unique opportunities to experience -- by mitori-geiko -- good and in-depth examples of advanced Kata & Kumite studies by various high ranking sempai.

I am very much looking forward to seeing you all at Biwako 2020!

Haruyoshi F. Ito

With best wishes from the whole ISP board:

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